(JONATHAN TURLEY) – A conservative student organization has flagged a quiz at Vanderbilt University where students were asked "Was the Constitution designed to perpetuate white supremacy and protect the institution of slavery?" A student who answered "false" was marked wrong by the professor. The class is taught by Professors Josh Clinton, Eunji Kim, Jon Meacham, and Dean John Geer entitled PSCI 1150: U. S. ELECTIONS 2020. Meacham is a regular guest on MSNBC and CNN and other networks as well as a contributing editor for The New York Times Book Review.
The question posed to students is shown below: "Was the Constitution designed to perpetuate white supremacy and protect the institutional of slavery?
The faculty would only accept "true" as the answer.
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The statement is wrong on a number of levels. There is no question the Constitution did not end our deeply shameful history of slavery. However, even with the Declaration of Independence figures like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson sought to address slavery. The decision was made to accommodate slave states to secure the Declaration. The same political calculus was behind the infamous Three-Fifths Compromise found in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution.